Controlling Human Smuggling in the Netherlands: How the Smuggling of Human Beings Was Transformed into a Serious Criminal Offence

  • Richard Staring
Part of the Studies in Organized Crime book series (SOOC, volume 7)

Just before the summer holidays of 2005, the Dutch National Criminal Investigation Service arrested ten members of a violent Chinese gang. All detainees were suspected of human smuggling, drug trafficking, extortion and liquidations. Police not only found large amounts of drugs and money, but also came across 24 automatic firearms, among which several Uzi’s. The Chinese gang members were allegedly heavily involved in smuggling Chinese from their home country through the Netherlands to the United Kingdom. Smuggled immigrants had to pay up to forty or even fifty thousand euros for their journey and according to the police the gang members were prepared to use violence towards defaulters. In addition, the police suspected some of the arrested gang members of being linked to previously apprehended snakeheads of other Chinese smuggling organizations (Meeus, 2005). Since the turn of the millennium,the Chinese in the Netherlands have acquired the reputation of being involved in professionally organized human smuggling through Eastern European countries to the UK, using safe houses in harbour cities such as Rotterdam. The involvement of Chinese immigrants with human smuggling in the Netherlands became explicitly visible through the “Dover case.” In this tragedy on June 18, 2000, 58 Chinese smuggled immigrants on their way to the United Kingdom suffocated in a refrigerated cargo container. The “Dover case” put the Netherlands on the map as a transit country for human smuggling although it wrongly focused solely on Chinese smugglers.


Organize Crime Asylum Seeker Human Trafficking Illegal Immigrant Gang Member 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Afrekeningen in Amsterdam en omstreken. (2004, 18 May). De Volkskrant, sectie Binnenland, p. 11.Google Scholar
  2. Bunt, H. G. van de. (2004). Organised crime policies in the Netherlands. In C. Fijnaut & L. Paoli (Eds.), Organised crime in Europe. Concepts, patterns and control policies in the European Union and beyond (pp. 677–716). Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  3. Cornelius, W. (2004). Controlling immigration: The limits of governmental intervention. In W. A. Cornelius, T. Tsuda, P. Martin, & J. Hollifield (Eds.), Controlling immigration. A global perspective (pp. 3–48). Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. DNRI. (2005). Mensensmokkel in beeld, 2002–2003. Zoetermeer: KLPD-DNRI.Google Scholar
  5. Duyne, P., Kouwenberg, R. van, & Romeijn, G. (1990). Misdaadondernemingen: ondernemende misdadigers in Nederland. Deventer: Gouda Quint.Google Scholar
  6. DVB. (2004). Illegalennota. Aanvullende maatregelen voor het tegengaan van illegaliteit en de aanpak van uitbuiters van illegalen in Nederland. 5282929/04, April 23, 2004.Google Scholar
  7. Engbersen, G., & Leun, J. van der. (2001). The social construction of illegality and criminality. European Journal of Criminal Policy and Research, 9, 51–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Entzinger, H. (2002). Voorbij de multiculturele samenleving. Assen: Van Gorcum.Google Scholar
  9. Faber, W. (2002). De macht over het stuur. Onderzoek besturingssysteem aanpak mensensmokkel. Oss: Faber Organisatievernieuwing.Google Scholar
  10. Feenstra, C. (1999). Trends in mensensmokkel. In W. de Bruijn, H. de Jong, H. Pauwels, & I. Voorhoeve (Eds.), Mensensmokkel naar Nederland. Een bundeling van lezingen over mensensmokkel in relatie tot de bestrijding van de (georganiseerde) criminaliteit (pp. 9–20). Gravenhage: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  11. Garland, D. (2001). The culture of control. Crime and social order in contemporary society. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Ghorashi, H. (2004). Ayaan Hirschi Ali: Daring or dogmatic? Debates on multiculturalism and emancipation in the Netherlands. Focaal–European Journal of Anthropology, 42, 163–169.Google Scholar
  13. Hesseling, R., & Taselaar, A. (2001). Asielmigratie en mensensmokkel. Tijdschrift voor Criminologie, 43(4), 340–349.Google Scholar
  14. IAM. (2000). Dreigingsbeeld 2000. Inzicht in aard en omvang van mensensmokkel in relatie tot Nederland. Zoetermeer: Informatie- en Analyse centrum Mensen-smokkel.Google Scholar
  15. IAM. (2002). Mensensmokkel in beeld 2000–2001. Zeist: Uitgeverij Kerckebosch BV.Google Scholar
  16. IND (Immigration and Naturalization Service). (1998). Keten in kaart: trends en ontwikkelingen in de vreemdelingenketen 1998. Den Haag: Ministerie van Jusititie, IND.Google Scholar
  17. Kalb, D. (2000). Localizing flows: Power, paths, institutions, and networks. In D. Kalb et al. (Eds.), The ends of globalization. Bringing society back in (pp. 1–29). Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  18. Kleemans, E. R., & Brienen, M. (2001). Van vriendendienst tot slangenkop. Tijdschrift voor Criminologie, 43(4), 350–359.Google Scholar
  19. Liempt, I. van, & Doomernik, J. (2006) Migrant’s agency in the smuggling process. The perspectives of smuggled migrants in the Netherlands. International Migration, 44(4), 165–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. MacDonald, J., & MacDonald, L. (1974). Chain migration, ethnic neighborhood formation, and social networks. In C. Tilly (Ed.), An urban world (pp. 226–235). Boston/Toronto: Little, Brown and Company.Google Scholar
  21. Meeus, J. (2005). Politie pakt Chinese gangsters. De Volkskrant, 25 June 2005.Google Scholar
  22. Mensensmokkelaars brengen tweederde deel asielzoekers binnen. (1999, July 13). ANP, Binnenland (Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau).Google Scholar
  23. Middelburg, B. (1988). De mafia in Amsterdam. Amsterdam: De Arbeiderspers.Google Scholar
  24. Migration News 5–1–2005.Google Scholar
  25. Minderhoud, P. (2004). Het immigratiebeleid. In Han Entzinger en Jelle van der Meer (Eds.), Grenzeloze solidariteit: naar een migratiebestendige verzorgingstaat. Amsterdam: De Balie.Google Scholar
  26. Ministerie van Justitie en Ministerie van Binnenlandse Zaken en Koninkrijksrelaties. (2001). Nota criminaliteitsbeheersing. Investeren in een zichtbare overheid. Den Haag: Ministerie van Justitie.Google Scholar
  27. Ministerie van Justitie, Ministerie van Binnenlandse Zaken en Koninkrijksrelaties. (2002). Naar een veiliger samenleving, Den Haag, oktober 2002.:
  28. Muus, P. (2004). The Netherlands: A pragmatic approach to economic needs and humanitarian considerations. In W. A. Cornelius, T. Tsuda, P. Martin, & J. Hollifield (Eds.), Controlling immigration. A global perspective (pp. 263–288). Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  29. NRC Handelsblad. (2005, January 20). Schiphol: 675 man vast wegens mensensmokkel.Google Scholar
  30. Parlementaire Enquetecommissie Opsporingsmethoden. (1996). Inzake opsporing. Den Haag: SDU.Google Scholar
  31. Pieters, B. (2006). Dutch criminal and administrative law concerning trafficking in and smuggling of human beings. In E. Guild & P. Minderhoud (Eds.), Immigration and criminal law in the European Union. The legal measures and social consequences of criminal law in member states on trafficking and smuggling in human beings (pp. 201–240). Leiden/Boston: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.Google Scholar
  32. Price, C. A. (1963). Southern Europeans in Australia. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Salt, J., & Hogarth, J. (2000). Part I. Migrant trafficking and human smuggling in Europe: A review of the evidence. Migrant trafficking and human smuggling in Europe. A review of the evidence with case studies from Hungary, Poland and Ukraine. Geneva: International Organization for Migration.Google Scholar
  34. Scheffer, P. (2000). Het multiculturele drama. NRC Handelsblad, 29 januari 2000: p. 6.Google Scholar
  35. Spener, D. (2004). Mexican migrant-smuggling: A cross-border cottage industry. Journal of International Migration and Integration, 5(3), 295–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Staring, R. (2000). Flows of people: Globalization, migration, and transnational communities. In D. Kalb et al. (Eds.), The ends of globalization. Bringing society back in (pp. 203–215). Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  37. Staring, R. (2004). Facilitating the arrival of illegal immigrants in the Netherlands: Irregular chain migration versus smuggling chains. Journal of International Migration and Integration, 5(3), 273–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Staring, R. (2006). Controlling immigration and organized crime in the Netherlands. Dutch developments and debates on human smuggling and trafficking. In E. Guild & P. Minderhoud (Eds.), Immigration and criminal law in the European Union. The legal measures and social consequences of criminal law in member states on trafficking and smuggling in human beings (pp. 241–270). Leiden, Boston: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.Google Scholar
  39. Staring, R., Engbersen, G., Moerland, H., et al. (2005). De sociale organisatie van mensensmokkel. Zeist: Kerckebosch.Google Scholar
  40. Statistics Netherlands 2006.Google Scholar
  41. Swaaningen, R. Van. (2004). Veiligheid in Nederland en Europa. Een sociologische beschouwing aan de hand van David Garland. Justitiële Verkenningen, 30(4), 9–23.Google Scholar
  42. Tweede Kamer, vergaderjaar 1998–1999, 26345, nr. 1.Google Scholar
  43. Tweede Kamer, vergaderjaar 2003–2004, 29291, nr. 1, Uitvoering van internationale regelgeving ter bestrijding van mensensmokkel en mensenhandel.Google Scholar
  44. Tweede Kamer. (2003). Terugkeernota. Maatregelen voor een effectievere uitvoering van het terugkeerbeleid. Vergaderjaar 2003–2004, 29344, nr. 1.Google Scholar
  45. United Nations. (2000). Protocol against the smuggling of migrants by land, sea and air, supplementing the United Nations convention against transnational organized crime.

Copyright information

© Springer 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Staring

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations